Monday, June 28, 2010

Becoming an ACE

I'm frequently asked about the best way to prepare to become ACE certified in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat or other Adobe products.

An Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) "is a person who has demonstrated a professional level in proficiency with one or more Adobe software products." The steps to become an ACE are listed here. The primary task is to complete a "product proficiency exam" on the product for which you're seeking certification.

These exams aren't easy. They involve setting up a testing appointment at your closest Adobe-affiliated testing center, going to the testing location, and completing a 1-2 hour test. The tests are multiple-choice, presented on a computer screen. The toughest part is that you will not have the software in front of you to refer to while you're taking the test. So you have to know your stuff.

The key to preparation is to study the exam preparation guides. These guides detail exactly what topic areas of the program will be covered on the test, as well as what percentages of the test questions will pertain to each topic. In addition, each guide contains several sample questions.

For example, the InDesign CS4 guide says that there will be 4 questions (6% of the total test questions) on "working with tables". It goes on to say that you need to know how to modify tables, edit and format a table, create, apply, import, modify, and organize cell and table styles, and update the information in a table when the original data has changed. The exam guide gives similar detail for the other seven topic areas that will be covered.

So the key to passing the test is to study the exam guide, and learn and practice the topic areas that you don't know well.

Other helpful resources:

* Mike Rankin has written The InDesignSecrets Guide to the InDesign CS4 ACE Exam, helpful in preparing for that exam.

* exam aids has created simulated ACE tests for many Adobe products to help users prepare for the ACE exams.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Preview multiple pages in Bridge

The Preview panel (Window > Preview) of Bridge lets you view each page of multi-page documents.

1. You can view each page of a multi-page InDesign CS5 file. For this to work, in InDesign CS5 you must choose Preferences > File Handling, and choose All Pages from the Pages drop down list.

2. You can preview each page of any multipage PDF file

3. You can preview each artboard of a multiple-artboard Illustrator CS4 or newer file.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rounding one corner of a rectangle in Illustrator

I needed to round one corner of a rectangle in Illustrator today. This requires just a couple easy clicks in InDesign CS5. But in Illustrator this isn't so easy. Sure, there are various sneaky ways to do it without too much work, but it got me thinking about what the easiest way might be.

I'm convinced that the absolute easiest way to do this in Illustrator is with a free script from Hiroyuki Sato. Download the scripts (for AI CS - CS5) here, unzip them, and put the resulting folder somewhere you can find it. Then, whenever you need to round one or more corners of a rectangle (or any other shape, for that matter), select the corner(s) with the Direct Selection tool. Then choose File > Scripts > Other Scripts and select the folder containing the scripts. Select the Round Any Corner script, and you're done!

(While you're at it, check out some of the other cool scripts that Hiroyuki has written. I wrote about this previously here.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A nice touch

I was using Bridge CS5 today, and accidentally hit Command-d. To my surprise, the dialog box pictured below appeared.

I thought this was an awfully nice touch. Instead of just taking over the popular Command-d shortcut, which has been problematic because it is used for different things in the operating system, InDesign and Photoshop, Bridge gives you a choice. The first time you press Command-d in Bridge CS5, you are able to specify what you want the shortcut to do. No need to learn how to use a keyboard shortcut editor. Nice!